Peña Nieto’s new “Made in Mexico” program is inspired by Trump in more ways than one

In a national emergency, produce and buy Mexican.
In a national emergency, produce and buy Mexican.
Image: Reuters/Jose Luis Gonzalez
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From the southern side of the US border, Donald Trump’s vows to restore American jobs lost to Mexico look a lot like a concerted aim by the US president to make Mexican workers less competitive.

Now Mexico is fighting back.

On Feb. 1, Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto launched a plan (link in Spanish) to bolster his country’s industry. It’s called Hecho en México, or Made in Mexico, and it borrows quite a few ideas from Trump himself.

Mexico first?

First there’s the patriotism-inducing name, which is not that dissimilar in spirit from Trump’s “America First” motto. Hecho en México does not prioritize Mexico as directly as Trump’s phrase spotlights America, but it implies that domestic production will be favored above everything else.

The promotional video for Hecho en México hits the same nationalistic notes, not unlike a viral video Peña Nieto shared on social media showing everyday citizens spontaneously joining soldiers to keep the gigantic flag in Mexico City’s main square from touching the ground.

Trump’s rule about regulation

And like Trump in his Jan. 30 executive order to reduce regulation, Peña Nieto is also calling for bureaucrats to kill two rules for every new one they create. That’s one of a series of measures to speed up processes and reduce requirements to lighten the burdens on businesses. It specifically refers to international trade and foreign investment as areas worthy of more efficient procedures.

An emblem always helps

But the most visible part of the new program is the Hecho en México seal that its organizers want to appear on every product made in the country.

The eagle image on it, reminiscent of the one that appears on the Mexican flag, is meant to encourage government, businesses, and consumers to make the patriotic choice whenever they buy something. Peña Nieto underscored that goods made by foreign companies in Mexico would also meet the Mexican criteria.

“Today we have to consume what is Mexican,” said Peña Nieto. “Not only because it is, but because they are quality products that compete in markets and they are the best choice to make.”

As rallying cries go, that’s not as pithy as the Make America Great Again slogan emblazoned on the red baseball caps frequently worn by Trump and his supporters. But it’s a start.